An injured worker from the explosion at Grosvenor coal mine at Moranbah pictured arriving at the Royal Flying Doctors Service, Brisbane 6th of May 2020. Picture: AAP Image/Josh Woning
An injured worker from the explosion at Grosvenor coal mine at Moranbah pictured arriving at the Royal Flying Doctors Service, Brisbane 6th of May 2020. Picture: AAP Image/Josh Woning

A week on from disaster: Division over mine blast response

BOTH sides of government have failed to reach a bipartisan consensus on mine safety more than a week on from one the biggest mining disasters in recent history.

The issue remains a political hot potato as four workers injured in last week's Grosvenor Mine explosion continue to fight for their lives in hospital.

Yesterday, the CFMEU called on the Labor State Government to fast-track new laws extending industrial manslaughter to the state's mining industry.

The new legislation would create a criminal offence where negligence contributes to the death of a mineworker; and bring mining into line with other industries where individual executives and managers face jail time.

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The Opposition did not indicate whether or not it would support the proposed laws when asked yesterday.

"The LNP is committed to making our mines and quarries safer," Opposition mines spokesman Dale Last said.

Burdekin MP Dale Last. Picture: Matt Taylor
Burdekin MP Dale Last. Picture: Matt Taylor

"We will be assessing the legislation to ensure that it achieves that goal in Shadow Cabinet and Party Room next week to determine how we will vote."

Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said he had spoken to the Leader of the House regarding the importance of the bill.

He did not say whether he had asked for it to be fast-tracked.

"When the Parliamentary committee examined the bill now before Parliament, the LNP Members failed to support it," Dr Lynham said.

"I call on the LNP to stand up for workers this time and support this bill when it is debated."

Another source of contention is whether there should be a board of inquiry or a parliamentary inquiry into the Grosvenor disaster.

Dr Lynham has already announced the independent board of inquiry would go ahead, but Mr Last said the alternative would ensure workers were able to give evidence with full protections.

"Eight fatalities in twenty one months and recent incidents show that the mine safety regime is broken," Mr Last said.

An aerial image of Anglo American’s Grosvenor Mine. Picture: Daryl Wright
An aerial image of Anglo American’s Grosvenor Mine. Picture: Daryl Wright

The Queensland Mines Inspectorate is investigating the gas ignition event that caused serious burn injuries to the five workers.

A mines inspectorate spokesman said interviews with coal miners were already under way.

Simtars has completed a laser scan which involved surveying and mapping the underground incident scene.

The four injured workers - two 51 year olds and two aged 43 and 45 - were still in a critical condition late Wednesday.

A fifth man, a 44 year old, was in a stable condition.

One is a Moranbah resident and the others are from southeast Queensland.

They were all longwall production operators employed by One Key.